Mudcat Café message #717592 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #47889   Message #717592
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
26-May-02 - 01:53 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Fiddler's Green
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fiddlers Green
A buff or buffer in the States is an enthusiast (follows fire engines and knows "more" about fire than the firefighters, etc.). Bugger is now commonly applied to the old, as in "that old bugger disses us." (i.e., an old disapproving codger) or, as pointed out in Webster's, used "affectionately". This may be a point of distinction from British usage.
"Bastard" is much more likely in practice but duffer was a word applied to Sad Sacks, pedlars and the useless (= old bugger or codger again) and would have been a possible substitute at the time in print.
Bugger was also used in the States for a rascal or a worthless person (and still is in some areas), often by those unaware of the application of the word to the Bulgars and sodomy, but, true, Sandburg and his editors with their knowledge of word meanings and history would have avoided it in the book.